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Shaquille O’Neal was welcomed to town Sunday with a star-studded party that included sports celebrities and Average Joes looking to rub elbows with them.
O’Neal arrived in an SUV at 11:15 p.m. as fans cheered on the sidewalks and took pictures of him and other celebrities who joined the party. Shaquille’s first impression of Cleveland was a good one:
“It’s a nice town,” he said. “The entertainment is already here. Everything is here. The Browns are here, LeBron is here and now I’m here.”
Fans lined up more than an hour outside The Barley House in the downtown Warehouse District for a chance to see Shaq. One fan was holding a life-size cardboard cutout of O’Neal in an Orlando Magic uniform.
Lebron James was a no-show, but Cavaliers teammates Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao hung out and partied with O’Neal.
“This is going to be fun,” Williams said. “We got LeBron. We got Shaq. C’mon, what else you need?”
Former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar, boxing champion Kelly Pavlik, Cleveland Browns return specialist Joshua Cribbs, several members of the Cleveland Indians, Olympic gold medalist Dominique Moceanu and former Cavs star Austin Carr walked the red carpet.